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Daily News – 12.06.2014

Daily News of 2014-06-12

Commission Européenne - 12/06/2014

EXME 14 / 12.06

DAILY NEWS

12 / 06 / 14

President Barroso and Commissioner Füle on official visit to Moldova

President Barroso and Commissioner Füle have arrived in Moldova yesterday evening (11 June) and participated in an official dinner with Prime Minister Iurie Leancă, Deputy Prime Minister Natalia Gherman and members of the Moldovan government. Today, President Barroso and Commissioner Füle are seeing Prime Minister Leancă as well as the President of Moldova Nicolae Timofti and the Speaker of the Parliament Igor Corman for bilateral meetings. President Barroso also opened the Moldova-EU International Investors' Conference , where he said: "In two years we have brought our relations into a new higher level. (…) We have done it in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect, cooperation because this is the way the European Union works with its neighbours and partners and respect because you are a sovereign and independent nation."

This visit takes place just weeks ahead of the signature of the Association Agreement including provisions establishing the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with Moldova on 26/27 June.

President Barroso will continue his visit to the region to Georgia and Azerbaijan later today.

Antitrust: Commission welcomes General Court judgment upholding its decision against Intel

The European Commission welcomes today's judgment by the General Court (case T-286/09) which fully upholds the Commission's 2009 Decision which found that Intel had abused its dominant position and which imposed on Intel a fine of €1.06 billion (see IP/09/745). The judgment is significant because it confirms that the Commission was fully justified in pursuing the anticompetitive conduct in question in a major worldwide market. The Commission will continue to vigorously pursue abuses of dominant position, which restrict competition in the Single Market to the detriment of consumers.

Other news

Statement by Commissioner Borg following Council's political agreement to allow the prohibition of GMO cultivation 

"I am delighted to announce that the Environment Council has just broken the deadlock on the GMO cultivation proposal and has reached a political agreement that moves towards a new legal basis giving Member States the choice to restrict or prohibit the cultivation of GMOs on their territory", said Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg.

For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/gmo/legislation/future_rules_en.htm .

Watch the ENVI Council press conference starting around 13:15 CET and broadcast live on EBS .

Eurostat - Industrial production - April 2014

In April 2014 compared with March 2014, seasonally adjusted industrial production rose by 0.8% in the euro area (EA18) and by 0.7% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In March 2014 industrial production fell by 0.4% and 0.3% respectively. In April 2014 compared with April 2013, industrial production grew by 1.4% in the euro area and by 2.1% in the EU28.

Employment: EU Globalisation Fund pays €4.9 million to help 1,431 redundant workers in Spain and Italy

The European Commission has issued payments to Spain and Italy from the European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF). The total amount of €4.9 million will help 1,431 dismissed workers back into employment, following their redundancies in the automotive and manufacture of electronic products sectors.

€1.9 million will help 285 former workers of Grupo Santana in Spain and €3 million will help 1,146 former workers of VDC Technologies SpA in Italy.

These payments follow approval by the European Parliament and the Council on 16 April 2014. The relevant proposals were made by the Commission on 5 March 2014. For more information, see also: IP/14/212 as regards Grupo Santana and IP/14/213 regarding VDC Technologies.

EU says "Don’t Look Away" to minors' exploitation in Brazil

A new campaign designed to raise awareness of the sexual exploitation of minors in Brazil during the World Cup was today launched by the EU. Entitled "Don’t look Away" and supported by well-known Brazilian footballers, such as Kaká, the project involves setting up training seminars for public managers and debates on the subject in each host city of the World Cup matches, as well as increasing support to combat sexual exploitation and making victims aware of their rights. It includes the wide promotion of the 'Call 100' hotline to enable anyone who witnesses the sexual exploitation of minors to report it. As part of the World Cup Campaign, a series of factsheets – one for each city hosting a match - on the EU’s key human rights projects in that region are available, to increase awareness on the remaining challenges that Brazil faces.

New framework on Market Abuse published in the Official Journal

Today, Regulation No 596/2014 on market abuse (Market Abuse Regulation) and Directive 2014/57/EU on criminal sanctions for market abuse (Market Abuse Directive) have been published in the EU Official Journal. The Market Abuse Regulation shall enter into application in July 2016. Member States have two years to transpose the Directive on criminal sanctions for market abuse into their national law. The new rules on market abuse update and strengthen the existing framework to ensure market integrity and investor protection provided by the existing Market Abuse Directive ( 2003/6/EC) which will now be repealed. The Market Abuse Regulation ensures regulation keeps pace with market developments such as the growth of new trading platforms, over the counter (OTC) trading and new technology such as high frequency trading (HFT), strengthens the fight against market abuse across commodity and related derivative markets, explicitly bans the manipulation of benchmarks (such as LIBOR), reinforces the investigative and administrative sanctioning powers of regulators and ensures a single rulebook while reducing, where possible, the administrative burdens on SME issuers. The Directive on criminal sanctions for market abuse (Market Abuse Directive) complements the Market Abuse Regulation by requiring all Member States to provide for harmonised criminal offences of insider dealing and market manipulation, and to impose maximum criminal penalties of not less than 4 and 2 years imprisonment for the most serious market abuse offences. Member States will have to make sure that such behaviour, including the manipulation of benchmarks, is a criminal offence, punishable with effective sanctions everywhere in Europe. See also MEMO/14/78 and MEMO/13/774 .

New legislative framework for markets in financial instruments published in the Official Journal

Today, the Directive on Markets in Financial Instruments repealing Directive 2004/39/EC (MiFID II) and the Regulation on Markets in Financial Instruments (MiFIR) have been published in the EU Official Journal. Member States have two years to transpose the new rules which will be applicable starting January 2017. The new framework aims to make financial markets more efficient, resilient and transparent. It introduces a market structure which closes loopholes and ensures that trading, wherever appropriate, takes place on regulated platforms. It introduces rules on high frequency trading. It improves the transparency and oversight of financial markets – including derivatives markets - and addresses the issue of excessive price volatility in commodity derivatives markets. A new framework will improve conditions for competition in the trading and clearing of financial instruments. Building on the rules already in place, the revised MiFID also strengthens the protection of investors by introducing robust organisational and conduct requirements or by strengthening the role of management bodies. The new framework also increases the role and supervisory powers of regulators and establishes powers to prohibit or restrict the marketing and distribution of certain products in well-defined circumstances. A harmonised regime for granting access to EU professional markets for firms from third countries, based on an equivalence assessment of third country jurisdictions by the Commission, is introduced.

Additional information is available online .

Another step in the implementation of the bank reform: publication of two key pieces of the Single Rulebook for banks

Today, the Directive on the Recovery and Resolution of Credit Institutions and Investment Firms (BRRD) and the recast Directive on Deposit Guarantee Schemes (DGS) have been published in the EU Official Journal. The BRRD provides a complete framework for the crisis management of banks, while the DGS Directive strengthens the protection of citizens' deposits in case of bank failures. Member States must now transpose both texts into their national legislation within the defined timeline. Today's publications contribute to making the Single Rulebook for the banks of the 28 Member States a reality and pave the way to its centralised implementation within the Banking Union (see MEMO/14/294 available in all EU languages).

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Scholz by Toyota Tsusho Corporation and the Scholz family shareholders

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Scholz of Germany by Toyota Tsusho Corporation ("TTC") of Japan and the Scholz family shareholders. TTC provides logistics services for the automotive industry, and acts as a trader of metals, machinery, chemicals and other products. Scholz is currently solely controlled by the Scholz family shareholders, who also control other companies mainly investing in real estate. Scholz is active in trading and processing of ferrous and non-ferrous scrap and steel. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, because of the limited overlaps between the merging parties' activities. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7258 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of SHELL Italia and SHELL Italia Aviazione by Kuwait Petroleum

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of two Italian Shell Group companies, SHELL Italia S.p.A. and Shell Italia Aviazione S.r.l., by Kuwait Petroleum Europe BV ("KPE") of The Netherlands and Kuwait Petroleum Italia ("KPI") of Italy. KPE is the holding company for the majority of the assets of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) in Europe and KPC's investments in the Far East. KPI is the Italian subsidiary of KPE. It refines and distributes petroleum products in Italy and sells motor, marine and aviation fuels, lubricants and heating oil. Shell Italia sells motor fuels at retail level and manages the supply and distribution of motor fuels through its retail network. Shell Aviazione markets aviation fuels and holds interests in joint ventures that provide into-plane services and aviation fuel storage. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns, in particular because of the parties' moderate market shares and the presence of other competitors that will continue to constrain the merged entity. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the under the case number M.7196 .

Increasing product safety for EU consumers through new standards

The European Commission today adopted decisions on standards which were developed by CEN, one of the European standardisation organisations. These decisions will allow manufacturers, importers  and inspectors to rely on specific standards ensuring the safety of consumer-fitted childproof locking devices for windows and balcony doors, floating leisure articles to be used on or in the water (e.g. rubber boats, air mattresses etc.) and a range of different training and gymnastic equipment (e.g. exercise bicycles, treadmills, trampolines etc.). The products for which standards are being adopted feature in accidents and injuries. These can be serious and sometimes even fatal accidents such as drowning or children falling from high buildings. Compliance with these standards will enhance consumer safety and reduce the occurrence of such incidents. For more information: standards in support of the General Product Safety Directive , standards and how to purchase them

EU-funded ICT tool to help patients with brain trauma

Traumatic brain injuries affect 1.6 million people in the EU every year. 70,000 don't survive and a further 100,000 are left with a permanent disability. An EU-funded project – with partners in Finland, France, Lithuania and the UK   – is collecting data from hundreds of patients who have suffered brain trauma and using it to build software which will improve diagnosis and predict the outcome of treatments.

Mission for Growth: European SMEs seeking business opportunities in Paraguay

After visiting Panama and Argentina, European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani will travel to Paraguay on 14th June accompanied by a large business delegation composed of more than 20 companies and 3 business associations representing 9 EU Member States. Participating companies generate jobs for more than 90.000 people and represent a turnover of around € 56 bn, i.e. more than the GDP of Slovenia and Estonia that is € 53 bn (2013). The participating business associations represent more or less 280.000 European companies, generating additional jobs and turnover.

State aid: Commission approves amendments to restructuring plan of Belgian insurer Ethias

The European Commission has found proposed amendments to the restructuring plan of the Belgian insurance company Ethias to be in line with EU state aid rules. In particular, the Commission has agreed to the proposed prolongation by three years of the rundown of Ethias' retail life insurance portfolio as well as the measures aimed at ensuring the profitability and low risk of its other activities. The Commission considers that these amendments do not endanger the restoration of Ethias' long term viability nor do they increase the risk of competition distortions in the Single Market. Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: "The amendments to Ethias' restructuring plan proposed by the Belgian authorities aim to consolidate the viability of Ethias, taking into account the current market conditions, without increasing the risk of distorting competition in the Single Market."

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